Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sites I Found Recently That I Liked or Found Interesting

I know it is shocking that I am posting something here again - after all I wrote another post just YESTERDAY. I must say I am rather impressed with myself..

I was thinking about some sites I ran across in my Emailing/Facebooking/Twittering adventures and I said to myself, "Maybe you should list them on your blog - that might be interesting." And usually that is as far as it goes when I have these inspirational thoughts. But not today - no, I am going to actually put a few of them in this post and try to hit the publish button before something comes along to distract my attention.


What If Jesus Meant All That Stuff? by Shane Claiborne
is an article that really made me think. Maybe it will do the same for you.

Is Social Media a Fad?A blog post by Cherle Hemmerle with United Methodist Communications. There is a link in her post to this video on YouTube - Social Media Revolution

1000 Awesome Things - I just thought this site was fun to scroll through.

Churches Doing Twitter Wrong: Churches can do Twitter Well- interesting to me because I help do my Church's Facebook & Twitter pages.

And there you have it!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thoughts on Being Thankful Everyday

I got inspired on November 9th by a post on Facebook that said this:

Every day this month until Thanksgiving, think of one thing that you are thankful for and post it as "Today I am thankful for..." The longer you do it, the harder it gets! If you think you can do it then repost this message as your status to invite others to take the challenge, then post what YOU are thankful for today.

I remember thinking, "What a great idea! This will help give me & my friends good motivation to remember how blessed we are." I also remember thinking that it won't be hard at all to think of just one thing each day that I am thankful for. After all, I have soooo much in my life that is worthy of offering thanks for, right? Yeah, well, as the infamous THEY say, "Famous last words...."

As usual I started off easily enough. My first "I am thankful" post simply said I was thankful for coffee. It was on a Monday and for some reason my need for and appreciation of coffee is greater on Mondays than most other days of the week. And I know that I have many Twitter & Facebook friends who are also coffee lovers, so they would appreciate it. After that I was thankful for Bible study friends, Veterans on Veteran's Day, Family...oh, yes, this isn't hard!!

The next day it suddenly wasn't easy to think of a Thankful post. I was busy and had a lot on my mind and was very tempted to just skip it. Somehow I couldn't let it go, though, and kept fretting about it in the back of my mind. It was the day I took my husband to the hospital in Ft. Collins for outpatient surgery on his knee. I thought about posting how thankful I was for health insurance coverage that would cover his surgery and got distracted thinking about the healthcare debates on the news and friends I have who don't have insurance and would it seem insensitive to them if I waved our good fortune in their faces? And, then, I was resentful of feeling bad for being so blessed. I finally posted that I was thankful for wireless internet access. There - that should be safe enough, right? Although, there are folks who don't have ANY internet access and certainly not something as extravagent as wireless internet access. Good grief, sometimes life is so much easier when I try not to think so much.

Truthfully I really was thankful for wireless internet access. I had several hours to fill while Terry was in surgery and the weather was yucky. It was wonderful to have my laptop, a cup of coffee (already been thankful for that!), no work or kids to distract me, and sit in a warm & cozy waiting room while working on a website project that had been neglected for awhile. I was in heaven!!

Rather that succumb again to my own inflicted pressure to be profound and inspiring without being too mushy, or irreverent or offensive (how much havoc could I wreck by saying I was thankful for Republicans? or Democrats? I have friends in both arenas!!), I have since tried not to over analyze what my daily "Thankful" posts should be. I was right in my first reaction to this challenge - I do have much in my life to be thankful for. Health insurance - yes, I am VERY thankful for this, Chocolate is another thing, my cell phone, our insane cockatiel, fuzzy socks, a God who gives 2nd chances - often 3rd, 4th, 5th, or more chances!!, Cheyenne's wind that cuts down on pollution, my favorite tv shows, good books, snuggle time with my girls, snuggle time with my husband, unexpected phone calls from dear friends, a child's laughter, fresh snow - I could go WAY past the date of Thanksgiving with all that I have to be grateful for.

Knowing all that I am blessed with does not mean that my life is always carefree and happy. Sadly no, I am inflicted with the same human existence that everyone else has. God is teaching me - somewhat slowly, because I tend to be a stubborn learner, that even in the toughest times there is much in life that is good. And it is OKAY to be thankful for the good He has given me!! I am grateful for that. After all, what is good in my life is from God and that is more proof that He is always with me no matter what. His constant presence is undoubtedly the biggest thing I am thankful for every single day.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Going Pink for October

Somehow I found the Boobiethon folks on the web and ended up following them on Twitter. They have a unique way of showing support for women and the cause against breast cancer. If you want to know what I'm talking about then check out their website at http://boobiethon.com/.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and folks with a website and/or blog site can show their support by "Going Pink for October" - this site http://pinkforoctober.org/gives some information on how you can "Go Pink" and other ways to show your support.

Now if you are a woman or have women in your life that you love - go encourage to them to do their monthly breast examination! The Boobiethon folks will be cheering for you and so will I.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Blogger ADHD & stuff to whine about

Oooo, I wonder what's down this trail???


I've decided I have a form of ADHD known as Blogger ADHD. This is because too often I sit down with the intention of writing on my blog and get distracted. I'll pull up my blog site and see my list of blogs I like to follow and think, "Oh, I should see what So and So has to say today and click on her blog." On her site she'll have something else interesting linked to another site. So I click there. This will lead me even further astray and before I know it I've gone from sitting down to write about my daughter leaving for college to reading about how successful someone else has been at creating a home-based business and is known internationally and is so in demand that she had to hire a personal assistant. Now I am thoroughly depressed and my time has run out and I have to go do something everyday and mundane like pick-up my kids from school because I don't have a personal assistant to do that while I am busy being terribly successful running my internet-based-blog business.

Mom's School Bus.

Okay, truthfully, I really don't want anyone else picking up my kids from school. I still have two at home who haven't abandoned me for college. That's why I work two part-time jobs and try to arrange my schedule so that I CAN be available before & after school and go to volleyball games and piano recitals and dental appointments and fun stuff like that. Well, not that the dental appointments are fun, but you get the picture.

And sometimes I have deep profound thoughts that I would like to share, but my Blogger ADHD kicks in when I try to type them up, too. We just had an amazing experience in Cheyenne this weekend at the God of this City conference. But you probably won't hear about it from me because as I sat down to write about it I started whining about what a hard time blogging has been for me.

I think Blogger ADHD could be related to Journaling ADHD. For years I've been encouraged to journal by teachers, friends, and others. And that has not been a terribly successful venture for me, either. And in the meantime all these terrific thoughts and experiences go streaming through my mind and out into the oblivion that is my increasingly jumbled & inaccurate memory. (No comments about age, please....)

I choose to blame Blogger/Journaling ADHD for my inability to put fingers to keyboard (my modern version of putting pen to paper - rather clever don't you think?). It certainly could not be the product of an overly busy life or lack of discipline or focus, because then I might actually be able to do something about it and that would put responsibility back on my shoulders and I just want my problems to be someone/something else's fault. It's so much easier that way.

Okay - just had to get that off my chest. It remains to be seen if God chooses to help me heal my Blogger ADHD or not. Because, yes, this rant is a cry out to the only One who can truly help me change myself. I'm a bit scared that it might be similar to praying for patience. If you've ever done that then you know why I am nervous!!

I'll do my best to keep you updated - right after I check out this other blog.....

Thursday, August 6, 2009

15 Books

Here are the rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. They don't have to be the greatest books you've ever read, just the ones that stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Copy these instructions and tag 15 ( or more) friends, including me - because I'm interested in seeing what books are in your head.


1. Bible

2. Little Women

3. Calm My Anxious Heart

4. The Jesus I Never Knew

5. 3 Simple Rules

6. Farhenheit 451

7. Lord of the Rings Series

8. Narnia Series

9. Harry Potter - All of them

10. Deryni Rising

11. Velvet Elvis

12. Eldest

13. Beka Cooper

14. The Case for Christ

15. A Generous Orthodoxy

Friday, July 24, 2009

20 year Update

****20 YEARS AGO (1989)*****

1) How old were you? 21

2) Who were you dating? Married for 1 year to Terry

3) Where did you work? Part-time: Washakie Cafeteria Full-time: Student at University of Wyoming

4) Where did you live? Laramie, WY

5) Where did you hang out? Home

6) Did you wear contacts or glasses? Contacts during the day, glasses when I first got up in the morning. (Still do that!)

7) Who were your best friends? Jeanette & Michele

8) How many tattoos did you have? 0

9) How many piercings did you have? 2 holes in each ear

10) What kind of car did you drive? Dodge Colt

11) Had you been to a real party? Yes

12) Had your heart broken? YES

13) Were you single/taken/married/divorced? Married

14) Any kids? No

****15 YEARS AGO (1994)****

1) How old were you? 26

2) Who were you dating? Still Married to Terry

3) Where did you work? Natrona County Circuit Court

4) Where did you live? Casper, WY

5) Where did you hang out? Home

6) Did you wear contacts and/or glasses? Contacts during the day, glasses when I first got up in the morning. (Still do that!)

7) Who were your closest friends? Jeanette

8) How many tattoos did you have? None

9) How many piercings did you have? Still 2 holes in ears

10) What kind of car did you drive? Dodge Colt

11) Had you been to a real party? Do kids' birthday parties count?

12) Had you had your heart broken? Not over romance, but other life events

13) Were you Single/Taken/Married/Divorced? Still Married

14) Any Kids? 1

***10 YEARS AGO (1999)***

1) How old were you? 31

2) Who were you dating? Still Married to Terry

3) Where did you work? Trinity Lutheran Preschool

4) Where did you live? Roselle, IL

5) Where did you hang out? Home

7) Who were your best friends? Jeanette

8) How many tattoos did you have? None

9) How many piercings did you have? Same 2 holes in ears

10) What kind of car did you drive? Hyundai Elantra

11) Had your heart broken? Life - ya know

12) Were you Single/Taken/Married/Divorced? Still Married

13 Any Kids? 2 kids

***5 YEARS AGO (2004)***

1) How old were you? 36

2) Who were you dating? Still Married

3) Where did you work? Fitzgerald Law Firm

4) Where did you live? Cheyenne, WY

5) Where did you hang out? Home

7) Who were your best friends? Jeanette, Rhonda, Tobi

8) How many tattoos did you have? None

9) How many piercings did you have? Still 2 in each ear

10) What kind of car did you drive? Dodge Grand Caravan

11) Had your heart broken? Just life

12) Were you Single/Taken/Married/Divorced? Still Married

13 Any Kids? 3

****TODAY (2009)****

1) How old are you? 41

2) Where do you work? Fitzgerald Law Firm

3) Where did you live? Cheyenne, WY

4) Do you still keep in touch with your old friends? Oh, yes, even reconnected with some others through FB! Jeanette - always, Michele-one of the few good things about high school!, Rhonda & Tobi - amazing sisters God sent me, Carla-a long distance friend for decades, some things time just can't erase.

5) How many tattoos did you have? 0

6) How many piercings did you have? Still same 2 in each ear

7) What kind of car do you drive? Dodge Grand Caravan

8) Were you Single/Taken/Married/Divorced? still married!

9) Any Kids? 3

Monday, July 20, 2009

Introducing my 1st Guest Blogger - Cody Sanford


Cody is my oldest daughter. She just graduated from high school where one of her main activities was participating in Speech and Debate. This last year she qualified for the National Speech & Debate competitions in Oratory and CX. You debate types will know CX stands for cross-examination. If you still don't know what type of debate that is then you'd better Google it. I just know that she and her CX partner did well and were fun to watch in meets. You see, my daughter is extremely talented and smart and gifted. And, I, her mother, am not. I'm okay with that, though. I thoroughly enjoy being the proud mom even while secretly wondering if this amazing creature who calls me Mom was somehow switched at birth. On the off chance that she really is mine I say a prayer of thanks every day that God brought her into my life. I know that it is only through His intervention that she has turned out as amazingly well as she has.

So, enough gushing over my baby. Let's get to the point of this post. I asked Cody if she would be willing to let me post her Oratory speech on my blog - because it is wonderful!! And, you don't have to just take MY very biased word for it. Obviously it must have held some merit for others or she wouldn't have qualified for Nationals with it. Of course, it would be much better if you could actually watch her present it in person, but I never got a video tape and she probably wouldn't have let me post one if I did.

So, now, please enjoy this guest post from my daughter, Cody Sanford. (You may hold your applause until the end.)
********************************************************

Cody Sanford
Cheyenne East High School
Original Oratory
April 27, 2009

Beyond the Box

When I was in first grade, I remember recess as being a very sacred block of time, and I always used that time very wisely doing the same things. Slides first, then monkey bars, and then swings. It was a routine that was not allowed to be changed, however that spring they put in a new piece of equipment - A balance beam, with little rings to hold onto as you went across. And I was fascinated by them because they were new and AWESOME. I was scared, but I put my foot down, and went for it. The first thing I did: fall off and scrape my knee. But I was proud of that scar because it proved that I went for it, and the next morning I fought with my mom that I could not wear tights and a skirt because I needed to show it to my friends.

As I begin to grow older, I can see that so many of us are becoming so entrenched in our daily lives that we’re losing that sense of wonder in new things, and in reality that means a sense of the world beyond just ourselves. We can see the world that we live in, but how many of us have an idea about the world beyond? What would happen if we were to look at that world? Marshall McLuhan once said, “Once you can see the boundaries of your environment, they are no longer the boundaries of your environment.” Once you’re willing to put one foot forward toward trying something new, it then becomes a part of you, and your limits are pushed that much further. So, we need to push the envelope. First, we need to consider our boundaries today and what we lose by never looking beyond them, then we’ll look at the possibilities of the world beyond, and finally we’ll discover some of the ways to get there. But what if you’re saying to yourself, “I like the world I’m in? What if I don’t want to change?”

The truth is there’s nothing wrong with being happy with the way things are. It’s much better to be happy than not, but there’s always room to be curious. Too many of us spend too much time doing what we’re supposed to do, or expected to do, rather than what we’d actually like to be doing. We’re given a simple list of instructions: graduate high school, go to college, get a job, work. Now, that’s not a bad plan, if you find something that you love to do, but according to a 2005 study conducted by the Conference Board less than half of Americans are satisfied with their jobs. The Mayo Clinic recognizes this trend and says that some of its causes could simply be that for many people work is boring or it doesn’t match their skills and interests.

That may seem decadent to say in a time of economic turmoil, when unemployment is climbing and we are being told that the few things that we understand could be crashing down around us. But out of the darkest of times bloom some of the greatest opportunities. But when you hit rock bottom, the only place you have to go is up - so make it a new direction that you control. If you never even try to find something new, what you have now is all you’re ever going to get.
When things seem difficult, it may seem easy to become apathetic and accept the mentality there’s nothing I can do about it. But our curiosities and our discovery are too important to allow that to happen. We’ve become resigned to the monotonous duties of things we have to do, rather than discussing our latest discoveries of what we’d like to do. This trend of apathy is eliminating our curiosity and stifling our innovation. Paul Takayanagi, a holistic gerontologist at the University of California, Berkeley, states that rather than suppressing our natural curiosity, we should be encouraging it.

After all, that’s the way we learn as children, is it not? To a 2-year-old, everything is fascinating and they are willing to explore EVERYTHING. They are willing to try new foods – like play-doh and dirt. They’re not afraid to explore new places – like the top of the fridge. (No seriously, that was my sister.)For some reason we grow out of that natural curiosity, but Mr. Takayanagi says if we were to inspire it, we can prevent dementia later on in life.

What happens when we look at the rest of the world? When I was in second grade, my teacher wouldn’t let us ask, “What if?” questions. She said it wasted too much time. But I don’t think I’ve ever disagreed with anything more. Now more than ever is the time to ask, “What if I want to try something new?” and the truth is you don’t know what will happen. But that’s what makes stepping out of your box worthwhile. Dr. Michael Ungar, a professor at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, says, “To grow, we need to experience challenges.” “By bubble-wrapping our lives, we may inadvertently be taking away opportunities to experience the building blocks of physiological growth” It’s scary to step out of your comfort zone, but for many of us, that’s what we need to do the most, because on the other side of that fear awaits opportunity.

Growing up, my parents always told me that if I encounter something new I need to give it a chance and try it at least once. If I don’t like it in the end, at least I know for sure. Many times, this was applied to food. My dad is an excellent cook, but an experimental one, and not everything ends up tasting great. But on the flip side, I’m glad that I’ve discovered that I have a very wide palate, and that it does not include cantaloupe, French toast, or Middle Eastern fermented milk. It’s a mentality that I’ve tried to carry with me to other areas, and last year when I had the opportunity to be an exchange student in Finland, I jumped at the chance. It was something new that would bring new things to try. However, as I was preparing for my trip I began to second guess myself. This is a place 9 time zones away, with a language I’ve never heard (much less know how to speak), and a completely different environment. “Why am I doing this?” But in the middle of this internal debate I got an e-mail from my host sister, Noora. We began to write back and forth (always in English – she at least knows some English as opposed to my Finnish) and before I’d even met her, I was able to realize that Noora may come from a different place, but deep down she’s a teenage girl too. We had similar tastes in music, did similar activities, and shared a passionate distaste for cantaloupe. Just talking to her helped me to overcome my fear and realize that people are people no matter where I would go.

Dr, Ungar says that this is the approach we need to take when we encounter something new. He says, “The best learning happens just beyond our comfort zone.” To psychologists, this is “the zone of proximal development.” Research has shown that those who enter that zone are more likely to feel accepted, responsible, trustworthy, and capable. I know I won’t forget the sinking pit in my stomach, when Noora had me try black sausage dipped in jelly – a local delicacy. However in hindsight I can say that I’m thankful that I’ve tried it, and in the future I will be able to say with confidence and with good reason, “Ei, kiitos.” No thank you in Finnish.

Beyond the social benefits of stepping outside your box, neuroscientists have proven that it is a fun thing to do. New, challenging, and risky activities release dopamine – a feel-good neurotransmitter. In addition to the initial dopamine release, the Journal National Academy of Sciences reported in 2005 that when you find and practice something that makes you happy, you have less of the stress hormone cortisol, a lower heart rate, and less of the blood clotting factor fibrinogen. Who would’ve known that our bodies are made to reward us for trying new things?
Whether people are happy or not with their cycle of their daily routine, they stick with it because it’s familiar. You don’t have to change the world to be happy, but open up by doing something new for yourself. Take a different route to school or work, order something new in your favorite restaurant, or do I dare say sleep on the other side of the bed. Why not? These little acts of everyday habit are what create our comfort zone, and by going beyond them, we expand our boundaries and open up more to the rest of the world.

Once you’ve allowed yourself to ask, “What if?” it’s time to move one step beyond that, and ask yourself “Why not?” The people that we celebrate in history are the people who were willing to leave their comfort zones and show the world something new. We live here today because the pilgrims risked everything they had to come to a new world – they said why not?, Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. could have stayed at home within their comfort zone, but chose to say why not? History does not reward apathy. It is only after great risk, that we achieve great reward.

Why not try something new? At worst it fails, you fall down and get a scratch – but then at least you have a story to share. We live in the country with some of the greatest opportunities for discovery in the world, but in order to take advantage of them, we need to lose our habit of apathy, reach out, and hold on.



Thursday, July 9, 2009

Looking for a new lighted ceiling fan


Yes - we are looking for a new ceiling fan. Why, you might ask? The fact that we need a new one since the formally perfectly good one isn't perfectly good anymore is...my husband's fault. Yes, that's it. Well, it might be because I am not super-mom, which I knew, but evidently forgot for a brief insane moment.

Since my DH could be standing behind me with his arms crossed and a frown on his face - I don't actually want to turn around in case I'm right - I'd better tell the whole story.

It all started when my DH decided to have our oldest daughter clean the globes on a couple of the ceiling fan lights we have in our house. It is his mission to make sure that our children do not dither away their entire summer vacation in frivolous fun. It's true, just ask our daughters how overworked they've been since school got out. Anyway, with Dad's help, my oldest DD managed to get all the globes off of the dining room ceiling fan except one. You wouldn't think one small globe of a light fixture could cause so much trouble - but this one did. I came home from work to find the ceiling fan in this state - all globes but one in the sink to be washed. No one was around to explain why there was one globe left on the light and I didn't think to ask if there was a reason one globe was still attached. I don't know what I thought, but what I did was get up on the dining room table and proceed to attempt to remove said globe. I twisted, and twisted, and twisted - and it didn't come off. I tried another hold - it still didn't come off. I managed to get it partially off and hanging by a wire and it still wouldn't completely come off. At this point my oldest DD came up the stairs from the basement. She got a look of great concern on her face as she said, "Um, Mom, Dad said to leave that one alone because it is stuck and we'll end up breaking some of the wires if we're not careful." I experienced a feeling of somewhat great concern myself as I looked at the condition the fixture was in after my attempts to remove the globe. In my infinite wisdom I just screwed it back into place and hopped down off the table.

Later that evening I flipped the switch to turn on the light and was going about my business when I noticed that there was the smell of something burning. I started asking my three girls if they smelled anything and began searching for the source of the smell. To my horror I found it when I looked up at the ceiling fan I had so confidently thought I could fix earlier and saw smoke pouring from the middle of the fixture. Immediately I hit the off-switch and my oldest DD & I said together, "We need tape!!" Ah, she understands so much. She knew as I did that if we didn't tape over the switch one of us would walk by without thinking and try to flip the light on again. Visions of my house burning down around me flashed through my head quickly followed by visions of explaining to my husband why the light switch was taped over. It's so much nicer when he's the one who screwed up and I can choose to be benevolent. It's not so nice when I'm the one who has to humbly admit I messed up - again. Darn it.

So we are looking for a new ceiling fan which may take awhile to replace since our discretionary budget was a bit stretched with our oldest DD's highschool graduation and various summer activities. In the meantime, I told my DH we could enjoy candlelight dinners and drudged up an old floor fan to keep the air circulating in that part of our house.

So, you can see that if my DH hadn't felt he could leave well enough alone and just let the dratted globes be dusty we wouldn't be in this situation. It has nothing to do with the fact that I assumed too quickly and didn't bother to communicate with the people responsible for the project of cleaning the globes in the first place.

That's my story - and I'm sticking to it.

Friday, June 26, 2009

And the world goes around....

Here I am again - motivated by grief to try to put into words what I'm feeling-and knowing I'm rather inadequate to the task. Yesterday my husband and I learned that a very dear friend of his had passed away quite unexpectedly. We are still in shock. Don was young - only 48 years old-yet that meant nothing when he suffered a heart attack on June 24th. He was a single father of a beautiful 15-year-old daughter. They seemed to be very close. I can only image the pain of her loss.

After time and distance had separated Don and Terry, they reconnected a couple of years ago through the internet. When I made the leap into the Facebook community he was the first friend to welcome me. After that he was a constant source of laughter as I'd read his updates and comments to other friends. It was evident he loved life, he loved God, he loved his daughter and he lived each day to it's fullest. As my husband and I clung to each other in grief I said it felt rather strange for me to be crying over someone I'd never met in person myself. Yet Don meant a lot to my very best friend. That gave him an initial IN with me. And Don came to mean a lot to me through the encouragement he shared on the internet. Terry and I had hoped to be able to travel to Texas to visit with Don and Laura in person - someday. Oh, how cliche, how said, that our someday is not meant to happen on this earth. I just know that Heaven has to be a brighter place now that Don is there.

In the midst of this I was thrown on the other end of the emotional roller-coaster by my very soon-to-be 5-year-old daughter. That afternoon we had gone to the store and picked out treats for her to take to her preschool class to celebrate her birthday. If you don't have any young children in your life to share joyful occasions with like turning 5-years-old, I recommend you go make friends with one right now. There was something indescribable in her joy in picking out the perfect treat. She chose "those blueberry cupcakes we make at home, Mommy." I had to think a few minutes before I translated that into being the blueberry muffins we like to make for breakfast. Okay - it is her party after all. The discussion on what to drink was interesting as well. I suggested taking Ginger Ale and some cherries to make Shirley Temples. She was instant on choosing pink lemonade and "green" lemonade. Now to me the liter bottle she pointing to looked liked it held yellow lemonade, but my very opinionated daughter was certain it was green. I have learned through the experience of raising three strong-minded daugthers that there are some arguments not worth pursuing. I managed to get through choosing plates and napkins without too much conflict, by pulling the "I'm the Mommy - we're getting these or not getting any-card." I had to make sure we had enough for 20 kids. If only our budget would allow for the more expensive packet of 8 plates (x3 to have enough for 20 kids) with Disney princesses.

The best scene was driving her to preschool this morning. She had insisted on having all the birthday paraphernalia placed on the seat next to her. The muffins traveled in a box on the floor at her feet. Half-way there I heard her excited voice say, "Look at me, Mommy!" Glancing in the rear-review mirror I had to smile. She was enthroned on her carseat and had piled all of the plates, napkins, and liters of lemonade onto her lap and was holding them with a huge grin on her face. "My friends are going to love my treats!!" I was so tickled at her joy in sharing with her classmates. It didn't matter that she wasn't receiving any presents at this party. This was her opportunity to give to her friends and her joy was contagious.

As I left her at school I said a quick prayer of thanks to God for the amazing gift that my daughter is in my life. And I said another prayer of thanks for the gift that Don had been-even if only for a short time. My life would be so much less with having experienced either one.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Three Best Things in My Life



Cody, Kati & Tori

Because a picture says more than a thousand words can.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Catching Up..Umm..Not gonna happen...

Hello, Blogosphere Friends!

I honestly don't know where the time went and how it's been so long since I've made it a point to post something here. I don't have a good excuse - except that life has been sooooo busy!! I have to say it makes me feel better when I talk to other friends who say the same thing. Is it the time of year? In my case I have three daughters in school. It is the end of the school year and the schools seem to suddenly say, "Let's finish everything we haven't managed to complete over the previous 8 months in the last 30 days before summer break!!"




My oldest daughter is a senior who graduates in three weeks - aagghhhh!









My tween daughter is busy doing homework, participating in the school musical and driving everyone crazy with hormonal outbreaks.






My 4-year-old still thinks Mom is her favorite person in the whole wide world and thus wants to spend every single second at my side when she is not at preschool. Every Single Second. I remind myself that there will be a day when I will miss not having a little person pounding on the door when I can beat her to the bathroom or otherwise sitting on the edge of the bathtub keeping me company.





Groups at church are winding down and everyone wants one last get together before breaking for summer and they all want to plan them for the same day. Temperatures are warming up and yard work beckons. Did I mention my daughter is graduating? And we invited friends and family over. What were we thinking? Sometimes a check in the mail seem like it would have been plenty sufficient acknowledgment of her accomplishment. I'd have a hard time convincing her grandparents of that, though. They are ridiculously thrilled with the idea of coming to see their oldest grandchild graduate from high school.



Have I ever mentioned that I am prone to extreme sarcasm? Especially during times of great duress. I want to make it official that I love my oldest daughter and am so proud of her that I can't stand it. And I'm really looking forward to having tons of family and friends come to her graduation and the party afterwards because I love having them over.




I started helping to update my church's website which has been a fun learning experience, but also somewhat time consuming. I've always liked working with projects like this and am learning so much!! It's rather daunting, though, when every time I figure out one step I realize there are ten more that I still don't know!!



I was going to participate in 2nd Cup of Coffee's 30x5 Phase 2 Challenge. But I'm afraid all I earned this attempt at Phase 2 is this award:

I really need all the encouragement I can get to keep exercising AND watching what I eat, so I am going to keep trying Phase 2 until I can earn my actual cool cup award.



Whew, I feel better just getting all that off my chest!! Here's to losing my procrastinors-r-us mentality and focusing on blogging again sooner rather than later!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Back Home Again!!

We are back home from our Spring Break Trip to Washington, D.C. & relatives in Virginia. There's so much to tell I hardly know where to start. And I really don't have that much time to write at the moment because life has barrelled right along since we landed at DIA on Saturday afternoon.

This is how the last three days have gone - drive to Cheyenne, unpack, start laundry, dye Easter Eggs, reassure the dogs & the bird we were not leaving again, go to bed, get up for church, celebrate Easter with Grandma & Grandpa, reassure the dogs & the bird we were not leaving again, do more laundry, go to bed, get up and get kids to school - parents to work, visit friends for dinner, reassure the dogs and the bird we were not leaving again, get up and get kids to school - parents to work .... and suddenly it's Tuesday already - and tomorrow is Tax Day and I am a victim of procrastination.

Anyway, here are a couple of pics to share from our trip:

Took this from the Mall where we collapsed on the grass after walking our feet off at one of the Smithsonians.








Took this one of my three girls - Cody, Kati & Tori with my cousin Tammy. (Gotta love the 4-year-old's pose!) Tammy is one of those crazy people who lives in Virginia and commutes to DC for work. She made a terrific tour guide for our trip!!


So that's it for now - going to wade through taxes - hopefully the dogs and the bird are convinced we're staying home for awhile!

Friday, April 3, 2009

My Life, In Pictures. Day 5

Here is my final post for Everything Except the Grill's Photo Challenge - My Life. In Pictures. Day 5

When I first started thinking of something old to take a picture of I was not feeling well since I've been fighting a spring cold and this was the oldest thing in my house I could think of for a picture:

(This is me taking my picture from my "good" side.)

Okay -I'm no Spring chicken - but I decided I could find something much older in my house. After all my husband does collect antiques - and I don't mean me!


After a bit of searching I found this:



This lovely fellow is a Mayan chocolate pot. The Mayans would make their equivalant of hot cocoa and serve it up in these lovely things. My daughters and I are not sure how we'd feel about drinking chocolate poured out of someone's kazoo - but my husband seems quite fond of him.

Thanks, Amber, for this opportunity! This Photo Challenge has been lots of fun!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My Life. In Pictures. Day 4

Here is my post for Everything Except the Grill's Photo Challenge - My Life. In Pictures. Day 4

Something I do everyday - well, I spend too much time at the computer. I work in front of one and my laptop at home obviously gets very regular use. I decided to take a picture of my computer set up at work.



Not many could tell that you are actually looking at TWO computers and one monitor. I have both a PC in my office and a MacMini which sits on top of the PC. I can switch back and forth between them using the same monitor. Our office has used Macs since - well, since forever. Several years ago we started running into issues with documents and software that our Macs couldn't run - well, before they started making compatible software between the two. So, my bosses finally decided they would break down and get one PC for the office to alleviate the frustration. I was lucky one to get the PC since I actually had one at home as well. It's still runs well and makes me feel very tech-y and knowledgeable to have two computers going at once.

My Life. In Pictures. Day 3

Here is my post for Everything Except the Grill's Photo Challenge - My Life. In Pictures. Day 3

Today we were supposed show a picture of what's outside our front door. Mine is not exactly exciting, so I figured I'd show the same not exactly exciting view from slightly different angles.

This is out the front door and slightly to the right:










And this is out the front door and slightly to the left:











Spring hasn't exactly found southeastern Wyoming yet - it's rather cold outside and the grass is barely beginning to think about turning green.

So that's that. Sorry if this is uninspiring - I have a cold and we are trying to get ready to go on vacation for Spring Break and I'm tired and just want to curl up and be ignored. Not sure why my husband and three daughters don't agree with this idea. something about sleeping in the car or on the plane - we know how resting that is.

Going to find hot tea and a cough drop and supervise the troops.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My Life. In Pictures. Day 2

Here is my post for Everything Except the Grill's Photo Challenge - My Life. In Pictures. Day 2

Well, my first pick for this picture was a fairly simple one - just a bunch of grapes on our table for kids and grown-ups to snack on. Naturally it is surrounded by a pile of mail that my husband brought in and then left strewn on the table. We have an agreement that it stays on the table until both of us have had a chance to go through it. Otherwise either one of us is prone to walking off with something like the light bill and laying it down and then having no idea where it went!!


Anyway, back to today's picture - a little while after I'd taken the first one my middle daughter came home and let her pet cockatiel out to come visit the rest of the family. I don't think she comprehends that she is not a people - she is a bird. You can imagine what happened when she noticed the grapes sitting defenseless on the table. Okay, you don't have to imagine - I will show you.

Yep - Teela joined right in on the snacking - much to my daughter's delight and much less so to her father's. Shortly after these were taken Teela was returned to the family room - with her own small sprig of grapes to work on!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Check out Comfort Joy Designs Giveaway!

G'day Mate! Comfort Joy Designs is hosting a great give-away. It's open to us Yanks in the USA. Check out her blog here: Giveaway. If you like bath and body products you will love checking these prizes out!



I gotta learn how to do one of these Widget thingies - so much to learn, so much to learn!! Being a new blogger has been so much fun - and sometimes exhausting. Seems like my blog is constantly in transition. The exciting thing is I am learning about so many neat tools and tricks out there that can help make your blog even more interesting.

And when I find opportunities like this it makes it even more fun!

Join me at Comfort Joy Designs!

Monday, March 30, 2009

My Life. In Pictures. Day 1

Everything But The Grill is sponsoring a Photo Challenge Project through her blog My Life. In Pictures. Day 1 challenges us to take a picture of something new. My choice for something new was a picture of the first dandelion to be spotted in our front yard. It's still cold here - we just had snow last week - the grass isn't even green yet - but that's not stopping this determined weed. I had to restrain my husband long enough to get a photo taken. He takes dandelion invasion of his yard very personally!!

One Cup of Coffee - was it too much to ask for?

Ever have one of those mornings where nothing seems to go as planned? I can already imagine many heads nodding in agreement. Truthfully they happen more often than I'd like to admit.

Just the other day I got up with my daughter to do my daily walk which includes helping her deliver newspapers and dragging our fat beagle along. When I first started this exercise program it was just too much for me to take to walk out the door and see her curled up all warm and comfy on her couch. No, this was just not right. If I couldn't be in my nice warm bed - neither could my dog!! Sorry - digression.

Back to the morning in question. I usually have my side of the street fairly well memorized as to who gets which paper, but on this morning I found myself at the end of the street with an extra paper in hand and for the life of me couldn't figure out who I'd missed. So, I had to backtrack and find the empty front porch.

Once I got home I generously offered to let my teenager have the first shower with a promise that there would be hot water left over for my turn. Then I plodded over to the coffee pot, started the coffee, and plodded back to my room. I looked at my nice warm bed and contemplated if I had enough time to lay down for a bit before the day really kicked in. A glance at my watch said no - not if I wanted time for a shower. So I sat down to check email and blogs and such while my dear daughter finished her shower.

A short time later I heard the shower squeak off and went in for my turn. What was I thinking to let my teenage daughter go first?!!! I sooooo knew better. My shower started off barely tepid and rapidly reached ice cold. Very, very quickly I was out, toweled off and putting on warm clothes. Good thing the teenager's room is in the basement or I might have said something I'd have to apologize for later.

With chattering teeth I approached the coffee pot and **gasp** there was no hot coffee!! How wrong, how cruel - what had happened?? And then, much to my chagrin I realized that I had filled the carafe with water and but had forgotten to pour said water into the well in the coffee pot before hitting the brew button. Grumbling to myself I added the water and made extra sure that I actually hit the brew button before walking away.

As I headed back down the hall to wake up the younger two sisters I heard a blood-curdling wail come from their bedroom and my middle child came tearing out of her room. She barely paused long enough to say, "Moooommmmm, you didn't wake me up early - I forgot I needed to finish my science review - I'll never get it done now!!" Yes, as you can imagine she is my most dramatic child. I didn't bother to try to reason with her that she had never asked me to wake her up early and that I had asked her twice last night to double check her assignment list and make sure everything was finished. Nope, instead I ducked into their bedroom to comfort the youngest of my three darling daughters who had woken up after her sister's shriek and was crying in her bed. Thankfully she was happy to just wrap herself up in Mommy's lap be held until both of us felt able to face the other two.

On a positive note I finally did get my cup of coffee. My body temperature returned to normal and all of us made it to school/work on time. We even had breakfast, were dressed, hair brushed, homework completed and no one forgot a backpack or purse. Not bad - considering...


Win a Video Camera & Help Save A Life

Hey, Folks!

This is definitely a win/win opportunity. Go check out Resourceful Mommy's blog at this link for more info: http://resourcefulmommy.blogspot.com/2009/03/win-digital-video-camera-and-help-save.html

This is a quote from her Team Page at the March of Dimes site:

"When our first child, Emma, was born two months early, we had no idea the challenges we would face and the support we would need. The March of Dimes provided us with information, answers, and emotional support through what was the toughest time of our lives. The technology they helped discover not only saved Emma's life, but it helped me to carry my second child to full term. We're walking to give EVERY baby their full 9 months..."

If you are inspired by this then check out her page at March of Dimes here: http://www.marchforbabies.org/s_team_page.asp?SeId=628072

newbadge2

Friday, March 27, 2009

Just when I was getting a bit too cocky...

Well, it's been a whole month now and I'm still getting up to walk to every morning. If you've caught my blog in February you also know that these early AM walks include helping my oldest daughter deliver newspapers.


I have to say after a few weeks I was feeling like I was pretty hot stuff. My sleep cycle was adjusting so I wasn't completely exhausted every morning. The weather was generally pretty tolerable and I was getting rather adept at tossing those paper sticks on people's front porches. Oh, yes, I would trot - or rather walk briskly - down the block and deftly flick my wrist and the papers would land neatly on their porches and off I'd go with barely a hint of a pause between houses.

It's at this time that I would actually really start to wake up and realize that I had missed the porch and had to go retrieve the paper from the bushes or window well it had landed in. That wasn't as bad as the time my throw went completely wild and the paper landed on the roof. I was trying to imagine the look on the people's faces when I came back later in the day to tell them they might want to get the newspaper out of their gutter before it overflowed during a rain storm.

I then began wondering how honest I wanted to be about just how I knew said newspaper was in their rain-gutter. So, I ended up climbing up their front porch railing and precariously reaching up and flicking the paper out of their gutter and kicking it onto the porch. Thank God the railing was sturdy and I didn't fall and they didn't pick that moment to walk out of their front door to get their morning newspaper!! I did have to put up with a bit of harassment from my first-born, though, who had come back to check up on me when she realized she was finished on her side of the block and Mom was no where to be found.

As if the roof incident wasn't enough - our prayers for moisture were answered with a lovely spring snowstorm that dumped several inches overnight. After plowing throughing snowdrift after snow drift and retrieving several papers that simply slid from one side of a porch and off the other I was exhausted. And sore. And badly wanted a cup of coffee and a donut. No one volunteered to run out for donuts, though, so I settled for a warm cup of coffee, turned on my computer and was very excited to comes across a blog which offered an added incentive to keep getting up and plodding along in the mornings. 2nd Cup of Coffee is having "30 x5 for 2 Weeks." Check out the button below to visit the post which explains it.

And because I'm succeptable to subliminal suggestions - I'm going to go get a 2nd cup of coffee myself.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Join Me at the Ultimate Blog Party 2009!!

My friends in Bible study will probably be reminding me that I admitted to spending too time much cruising various blogs on the web - and they would be right to hold me accountable - and I promise to get back to work just as soon as I share what I found
today while pursuing my internet addiction:

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

It's my first time joining in on a "Blog Party" and so far it's been a lot of fun participating in it! They have prizes they are giving to folks who participate. There's a lot to look at - I so hope you enjoy roaming the party as I have!!

Okay - and now I'm getting back to work - I promise!!!

PS: Almost forgot to include my wish list for prizes that would be awesome to win:

1 — $100 gift certificate to either Pedal Cars and Retro (http://www.pedalcarsandretro.com/) or A Rocking Horse To Love (http://www.a-rocking-horse-to-love.com/)
Provided by: 5 Minutes for Mom

4 –T-Shirt from our new spring line
Provided by: tottieBEAN (http://www.tottiebean.com/)

USC 74 — set of the Maximum Ride series of books (5 books) from Marta’s Meanderings
Provided by: Marta’s Meanderings (http://martasmeanderings.blogspot.com/) courtesy of Hachette Book Group

USC 56 — 1 (One) $25 Gift Card to Target
Provided by: Full Circle (http://coloradodentons.blogspot.com/)

PS - Almost forgot to include my wish list for prizes that would be awesome to win:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Let the driveling begin...

I need to start adding pictures to my blog. And I need to keep reading other blogs to get ideas about what to write about and how to make mine more interesting - not to just to anyone who might happen to read it, but also to me. Sometimes I log on and have absolute writer's block - okay most times I log on, I feel that way, but I also am determined to keep writing SOMETHING whether anyone reads it or not.

I also need to use some of the other great blogs as motive to find ways to improve my own. Or simply let myself enjoy them rather than letting myself get jealous of them. Some people are really good at blogging on just about any topic and I let myself worry too much about wasting Internet space by filling it up with mindless drivel. Guess if all I have is mindless drivel to offer better start working on making it the best mindless drivel on the net!! There - that's a much more positive mindset.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Seriously or Literally???

So, this is one of the things that has been troubling me lately. I was in our church's Lenten bible study a couple of Sunday nights ago and we were talking about this passage in the Bible from Matthew:

Matthew 14:25 - 30

25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.

27But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

28"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."

29"Come," he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

Our discussion question seemed simple enough, "Why did Peter sink?" A few folks said things like - Peter was fine until he took his eyes off Jesus and let the wind distract him. It's analogous to our own lives - we do so much better when our focus is on God and can sink in the muck when we take our focus off of Him.

One lady, though, started talking about how she has struggled with passages like this and understanding how a real person could walk on water. In other classes she's learned that it probably happened because they were in a part of the lake that wasn't very deep or had rocks under the water that Peter & Jesus could stand on and just "looked" like they were walking on the water.

Now I've heard this before, so it wasn't new, but what got me thinking was that I felt like I should have some kind of response to her that would respect her opinion and yet, still be able to say to her, "But what if it's true? What if it really was a miracle? Why is it so hard to believe that the God of this universe could WALK ON THE WATER?" Okay, in my head I was ranting, but I kept my mouth shut. I am insecure enough as it is and believe that I am viewed as "a bit of a religious nut" even for most of my church friends, so I didn't say anything. I wanted to, though. I felt somehow I was missing an opportunity for both me and this lady to share in something meaningful.

I mean, I love the Bible. It is truly God's word to me. Now does this mean I have to choose sides? Am I a Literal Bible studier or a Serious Bible studier? The thought that comes to my mind is - "So, what if Jesus was just walking on rocks? So what if the water was just shallow? Don't you get that you are missing the point???"

I realized later than in a way I felt sorry for this lady. She seemed to truly be searching and my ability to both accept the fact Jesus & Peter were just rock-hopping AND still see the miracle in the point of the story is a gift. I do have a gift of faith and sometimes I want so much to share it with others, but experience has taught me that not everyone gets it the same way I do. Not my friends who take the Bible seriously and literally or my friends who would say they take it seriously, but not literally. I fall somewhere in between maybe????

Rev. Trudy said something in her sermon Sunday morning that really spoke to me about this after I'd wrestled with it in my head all week. I'm paraphrasing what Rev. Trudy said, but it went something like this: Trudy had a class in seminary where the students were having a discussion that got rather theological and academic until one student who had been very quiet the whole time spoke up. This student said that she had no need for a God who was powerless. She said she had been brutally abused as a child and when she suffering the most she needed to know that her God was capable of being down in the dirt and suffering right along with her. I wanted to jump up in church and say "Yes, that's what I needed to respond to the lady in the Lenten study." Of course, I didn't actually jump up in church. But it got me thinking some more. I, Kathy, have no need of a God who can't do miracles. I need one who is capable of things beyond my wildest imaginations. When life is tough and hard and seems impossible I need a Savior who can walk right next to me and rise above all that. I don't need to understand how - I just need the faith that He literally can do whatever it takes - seriously.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Siesta Scripture for March 1

“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”- Deuteronomy 6: 6-7 (NIV)

Okay - I'm jumping in late as usual, but better late than never - especially when it comes to doing something that will undoubtedly be good for me. I'm going to try to memorize scripture with Beth Moore and her Siesta's. If you wonder what the heck I'm talking about you can check out her blog on the link posted on my page. Basically we are to pick a new scripture on the 1st & 15th of each month - post it on her board and then work on memorizing or at least familiarizing ourselves with it for the next couple of weeks. I used to be good at memorizing when I was younger, but I have to admit it's gotten to be a bit more challenging as I've gotten older and takes a bit more work.

I have always liked this verse when I ran across it, but have also found myself challenged by it. It is sobering to think that while I like what it tells me to do - I am not good at putting it into practice. I THINK about God's commandments a lot, but when it comes to taking those thoughts and getting them past my lips I haven't done so well. I want to be able to talk about God's word with anyone, but especially with those I love the most. It should not be hard for me, but it is. So here is one step towards giving up that bastion of fear in my life and stepping out and opening up my mouth - and hopefully, letting God worry about the consequences.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lent 2009 - what's happening this year.....

I shared the following post on a Facebook discussion board talking about what people are doing for Lent this year and how it's going. I'm trying to post more frequently on this blog, so I figured I'd use the same post. Not sure it that's cheating, but figured chances are good that not too many of the same people read both.

During most of my childhood Lent held no real significance. I grew up Methodist and if any of the pastors or churches encouraged us to any kind of action or self-reflection or sacrifice I was not paying any attention. Then one day my best friend in high school - who was and still is Catholic - asked me what I was giving up for Lent. This was a completely foreign concept to me, so she gladly explained Lent to me from her perspective. Then she asked me again - "Well, now that you know what it is, what are you giving up?" I tried to get out of it by saying that Protestants don't have to do stuff like that for Lent. She refused to let me off the hook by telling me that my denomination didn't matter. If I loved God like I claimed I did I should be willing to show it in some significant way for what is really a very small period of time. I remember thinking somewhat irreverently that God might have chosen to give me a best-friend who was Methodist - would that have been too much to ask? So, I ended up using her example of giving up chocolate for what remained of Lent.

Since then my personal observance has been rather sporadic - although I did start noticing that my churches actually did encourage some kind of participation in Lent. And then a few years ago my own high school age daughter asked me what we should do for Lent. Must be something about those teen years. We decided to give up soda pop. After all it's really not that good for us anyway and we would just avoid buying any with our groceries. Unfortunately, we went on a trip for Spring Break and broke down about the 4th day of eating out and not ordering a coke. It was a great disappointment to both of us.

Last year was a rough one because instead of giving up something I decided to add something. I decided that for Lent I was going to attend worship every Sunday. Our church had been through some very rough experiences in the past few years. My family had been through some challenges during the same time. I still lead my adult Sunday school class, but that was the extent of my Sunday morning participation. For someone who had lived most of her life attending church faithfully every Sunday this was a significant lapse. Our church has three different services on Sunday morning, too, so it wasn't like I had a good excuse either. After almost a year of managing to skip worship God finally was not letting me off the hook. It was probably the best experience during Lent I've ever had because it brought me back into honest fellowship with my church family whom I love very, very much. And it brought me to a closer relationship with God-whom I also love very, very much. And that, I believe, is supposed to be part of our Lenten experience.

This year seems somewhat anti-climatic compared to last year, but I found a list on the www.umc.org website inside an article on called "Lent 101." I'm trying to do #2 on the list which is to say a prayer every time I check my email - which is probably far too often, but I work at a computer all day and it is easily accessible!! So far, it's going pretty well. I find myself stopping to think after I've looked at my email if I remembered to pray or not. If not then I try to take a minute and do it then. It's been a neat way to keep my focus off of just me during the day. These prayers have also helped to keep me in close conservation with God which certainly can't hurt either.

Thanks for letting me share!

In Christ,

Kathy S.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

New Exercise Program

This all began back in September when my oldest daughter Cody decided she wanted to start delivering newspapers in the morning to earn some extra money. While I admired her ambition at the same time I cringed a bit because newspaper routes are demanding. The paper is delivered every single day of the year, so what about days off? I am not good at planning ahead and what about those times when we want to just take off for the weekend? Who would we get to substitute? This was especially valid for Cody because of her participation in Speech and Debate at school. The Debate season is long one. And with this being her 4th year involved we had learned that it typically meant she would be gone most Friday nights and Saturdays traveling to meets. In relation to the paper route this meant she would regularly need a sub on Saturday mornings. All of these thoughts ran through my head as she recited her list of reasons why this would be a good job for her to have that would allow her time for activities and homework after school and in the evenings. I felt like I couldn't tell her no, so I said that she should talk to her dad. If he was willing to sign on as her permanent sub we could make it work for her. Well, her dad said yes, so there went my last option for telling Cody no to the paper route.

For several months Cody has done very well getting up early and delivering the papers. Six days a week she walks the route wearing her lovely paper bag with the front and back pouches for holding the papers. Early on she started taking our terrier Jake with her for some company. Jake loves doing the paper route. His enthusiasm at 4:30am every single day is rather inspiring. Cody lets Jake run along with her because he will actually come when called and there is rarely anyone out at that time of day for him to bother. Our fat lazy beagle Sadie was perfectly content to stay curled up inside when Cody and Jake left in the mornings. Sundays we quickly figured out were much easier with a car and driver to help because of the size of the papers - she couldn't carry them all because they just didn't fit. Still it usually meant me or Terry driving and Cody doing all the running of the papers.

This worked great until a few weeks ago when there came a Saturday when both Terry and Cody were going to be out of town at the same time. For some reason they both looked at ME when I asked who would cover the route. I had never done it by myself. The only time I'd helped was on a couple of Sundays when I magnanimously told Terry he could sleep in. Sundays were nice - I got to stay in a nice warm vehicle and slowly follow Cody down the street. A Saturday by MYSELF did not sound nice at all. The things we do for our children. On the Thursday before Cody and Terry were going to be gone I found myself getting up early, dressing in layers as my daughter recommended, being handed a flashlight and a map of her route and trudging along behind my eldest child as she carried the bag of papers and started explaining to me which houses get which paper. Before we left I had decided I was not going to suffer this alone so I grabbed a belt, put it on around my waist, hooked a leash to the belt and hooked Sadie to the leash. Sadie, unlike Jake, does NOT respond well to voice commands. With the leash hooked to the belt I still had my hands free for handling papers. No staying home all warm and comfy when I had to go out in the cold and wind!! Misery loves company.

Well, you can imagine my surprise when I found that delivering the papers with Cody wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it might be. I actually enjoyed it. It was fun to visit with Cody as we walked and Sadie was happy as she always loves going for walks. A thought occurred to me as we made our way through the route. I looked at Jake. Jake had slimmed down and toned up quite a bit since running with Cody in the mornings. He easily covers two or three times the distance the people do because he runs ahead and runs back and occasionally chases one of the many rabbits that inhabit the bushes in our neighborhood. And my daughter was in pretty good shape from walking every morning and carrying the papers. Roly-poly Sadie and I, on the other hand, did not measure up as well in the physically fit department. If I was to be completely honest, my physical activity level was rather non-existent. I work in an office at a desk during the day and I wasn't terribly active at home either - I spend too much time watching tv with Terry and the girls or on the computer. Hmmm....

You might guess where this is going and the answer is, "Yes, I am now delivering papers with my daughter in the mornings." It's very good exercise for me and Sadie - you know, I wasn't going to let her go back to lounging in the mornings either!! I have Cody for company most days and on the days when she is gone I make Terry get up and go with me. I don't know if this will continue after she leaves for College in the fall, but for now it is good and I will enjoy it for the blessing it is to me and my dog and my daughter. Her younger sister Kati adamantly declares she has no interest in taking over the route when Cody leaves, but I have several months to work on her. And at least by then I should have the good habit of every day getting up and getting out with the beagle - even if only for a short walk. This is definitely not what I had in mind all those times the thought would come that I needed to get more exercise. And yet, in spite of all of my objections - it works and I like it. Go figure.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sheep, Goats, Funerals, Inaugurations, Cell Phones, and other miscellaneous ramblings

Obviously, today I'm having a bit of trouble in focusing. There are a lot of different things running through my head.

Too begin with a friend from church sent out an email a few days ago asking if we thought we were a sheep or a goat? Our pastor had preached on Matthew 25:31-46:

The Sheep and the Goats
31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."


I know what I WANT to be - I want to be a sheep. I want to sit at Jesus' right hand and bask in His favor. Realistically - I'm sure I have that I many more goat qualities than I'd like to admit. I don't think this means I'm loved by Him any less - yet I know that I can do better. And, I'm sure if I can know this, then Jesus knows it even better than me. Whew - I definitely have a bit more thinkin' and prayin' to do before I write back and answer that email.

I went up to Riverton to my parents' place Monday night all by myself. This was another one of those paradoxical moments in my life. It was a nice break to be able to take off by myself sans kids and husband and hit the road for a few hours. I listened to a book on cd while I drove and had no external interruptions. And yet, the reason for my trip was not nice, but very sad. I headed to Riverton to attend the funeral of one of my mom's best friends who had been battling cancer. Considering that she is now at peace, no longer suffering and in the best company any of us can hope for I won't say the cancer won. Yet the rest of us here will feel her loss deeply for a long time to come.

Tuesday morning we were greeted with even more hard news when we learned that another long-time family friend had suffered a heart attack the night before and passed away. His death was rather unexpected. My family and I functioned on autopilot for the first couple of hours that day.

Before Betsy's funeral we watched the 44th president of the United States take his oath of office. I was struck by how momentous an occasion this truly was in so many ways. Do we Americans really have any idea how significant it is to have such a peaceful transfer of power occur? I don't think we do - we take it for granted. There are so many nations in our world for whom such a change would involve civil war and strife and bloodshed.

Betsy's funeral - like so many - was both happy and sad. I really enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with friends I hadn't been in touch with for years. And we celebrated the time honored tradition of bemoaning how we shouldn't let it take a funeral to get us back together again. Life and distance has a way of testing our good intentions, doesn't it?

I will admit that I am excited that I'm getting a new cellphone! My old one has been slowly falling apart for some time. The antenna is broken and I can only hear callers if the speakerphone is on. I was just waiting until we were close enough to our contract renewel date so that I could order one for much less money. It'll probably arrive tomorrow!!

Ah, tomorrow - I won't be in town when my new phone arrives. I'll be in Rawlins attending Al's funeral. More tears, more hugs, more opportunity to catch up on relationships. More opportunity for me to be so grateful to friends and family in my life who make it possible for me to attend these gatherings and still take care of my children. Terry sent me off to Betsy's funeral because he knew it meant more to me than to him or the kids to be there. And now that Terry is out of town my mother-in-law has willing stepped in to watch the girls while I head west to Rawlins. I know that I don't deserve this kind of support - but I am truly grateful for the gift of it!!!!

Rest in Peace Betsy and Al. You will be missed.

Monday, January 12, 2009

45 things I bet you don't know about me‏

45 things I bet you don't know about me‏

1. Do you like blue cheese? It's okay - I prefer Ranch

2. Have you ever smoked? No - glad I never tried. I would probably never have been able to quit. I have too many women in my family who are smokers and have not ever really been able to completely break the habit.

3. Do you own a gun? Not me - but my husband does.

4. What flavor of Kool Aid was your favorite? Red, followed closely by purple, and orange was okay.

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Not after having had three babies.

6. What do you think of hot dogs? I like them very occasionally. The hotdog stand at Lowe's has the best!!

7. Favorite Christmas movie? It's a Wonderful Life

8. Favorite thing to drink in the morning? I usually start with a big glass of water - and then bring on the coffee!!!!

9. Can you do push ups? Can – yes Want to - that's a whole 'nother issue

10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? My wedding ring - simple, pretty, not too flashy

11 What is your favorite hobby? It's a toss up between reading for fun, studying for Bible study, and messing with computers. Yes, I am a true Geek.

12. Do you have A.D.D.? Nope - at least I don't think so....nope, pretty sure not.

13. What's one trait you hate about yourself? Procrastination - it makes so many other things in my life much harder than they need to be!

14. Middle name? Louise - same as my dad's mom and my oldest daugther.

15. Best Birthday? My 40th - although haven't had my 41st yet to compare it with. I finally realized not only am I old enough be a grown up - but it's okay not to always act like one!! Not that I always behave like a grown-up, I just gave myself huge guilt trips over it.

16. Name 3 things you regularly drink: Water, coffee, tea - not necessarily in that order or preference

17. How many siblings do you have? one younger sister and one younger brother

18. Current "hate it right now": People who don't bother to park their shopping carts out of the way of parked cars and moving vehicles.

19. Favorite place to be? Curled up on my couch with all five of my family members snuggled together. Yes, it's a tight fit, but I love having all of us so close together - especially if we are watching something we really enjoy on tv.

20. How did you bring in the New Year last year? Played games with Terry and the girls - paused to watch the Ball drop at Times Square - and then finished a movie before going to bed.

21. Where would you like to go? Let's see - anywhere between the East and West Coast - there are so many amazing places in this country. Hershey, PA comes to mind, Washington, DC, Disneyland/Disneyworld. And, of course, overseas - almost anywhere in Europe, but especially Germany. Australia, New Zealand to cover another part of the ocean - those are just for starters

22. Name three people who might complete this: Carla C., my sis-in-law Ronda, and not sure who else

23. Do you own slippers? Nope - as my husband would say the thermostat in my feet is broken. My feet never stay a constant temperature - they get hot so I'm always kicking off my shoes. I usually wear heavy socks inside instead of slippers.

24. What shirt are you wearing? Cream turtleneck with fall colored leaves on it and a purple jacket

25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? Not really - too much fear I'll slide out of bed

26. Can you whistle? Yes

27. Favorite color? Red

28. Would you be a pirate? Probably not - although I'd always secretly admire them

29. What songs do you sing in the shower? Don't usually sing in the shower.

30 .Favorite girl names? Cody, Katrina, Tori - also always like my mom's name - Leora - even if it is old-fashioned, and Isabella for some reason

31. Favorite boy names? Can't think of any - it's a good thing I had three daughters!!

32. What's in your pocket right now? Empty - although usually has keys, cellphone, wadded up dollar bill, anything my four-year-old might have wanted Mom to hold onto for her.
33. Last thing to make you laugh? My niece Reagan and my daughter Tori giggling. There is something very contagious about little kids laughter.

34. What vehicle do you drive? Dodge Grand Caravan - plenty of room for people and junk which is mostly what I haul around.

35. Worst injury you've ever had? Slightly twisted knee - as far as injuries go I've been very fortunate!

36. Do you love where you live? Yes, Yes, Yes. Wyoming has always been home in my mind and heart. I learned to appreciate it so much more when we are away for several years.

37. How many TVs do you have in your house? 2

38.Who is your loudest friend? Can't name just one......

39. Do you have any pets? An overweight Beagle, and lovable Terrier Mutt mix, a gerbil, and noisy cockatiel, 3 kids, 1 husband - oh, wait, we were just counting pets...

40. Does someone have a crush on you? My husband and my four-year-old.

41. Your favorite book(s): I love science fiction and anything by Karen Kingsbury - odd mix, I know! Also, love Bible study curriculum and being involved in classes.

42. Do you collect anything? Teapots , Bibles

43. Favorite Sports Team? Ummm - Colorado Rockies - yep, pretty sure that's a team....

44. What song do you want played at your funeral? Amazing Grace - it's always been my favorite. Not a traditional lullaby, but it's the one my girls still ask for when I tuck them in.

45. What are you listening to right now? Fans from the printer and computers in my office - it's amazingly quiet in here today.